As victims of the shootings in Aurora, Colorado continue to grapple with injuries and trauma, and more details leak about the alleged shooter James Holmes (who has reportedly exhibited odd behavior in jail, spitting at officers so often they've slapped a face guard on him), people in Colorado and around the country have responded to the massacre in surprising, sometimes distressing ways. From stocking up on guns to filing lawsuits against the theater where the shootings took place, here are 5 consequences of the shootings:
1. Gun sales in Colorado have soared
Despite new condemnation of America's lax gun laws, which allowed the shooter to amass a veritable arsenal of weapons and ammunition, gun sales shot up in Colorado in the days after the massacre, with background checks up 41 percent. "Firearms instructors say they're also seeing increased interest in the training required for a concealed-carry permit," says Sarah Burnett at The Denver Post. "A lot of it is people saying, 'I didn't think I needed a gun, but now I do," Jake Meyers, a gun store employee, tells Burnett. "When it happens in your backyard, people start reassessing... 'Hey, I go to the movies.'"
2. An alleged copycat killer has emerged
Police in Maine say they arrested a man on Sunday who claims to have attended a screening of The Dark Knight Rises with a loaded gun. The suspect, Timothy Courtois, was pulled over for speeding, and cops found "four handguns, an AK-47 assault weapon, ammunition, and articles about the Batman massacre in Colorado," says David Moye at The Huffington Post. Courtois allegedly told police that he was on his way to Derry, N.H., to murder his boss, and that he had attended the movie the previous night with a gun in his backpack. Charged with having a concealed weapon, among other charges, Courtois is being held in the York County Jail on a $50,000 cash bail and has reportedly made repeated requests for marijuana and Chinese food.
3. A lawsuit is filed against the Aurora theater
Torrence Brown Jr., who was in the crowd when the shootings occurred, is suing Aurora's Century 16 theater for failing to equip the emergency exits with alarms or guards. While Brown sustained no injuries himself, his friend was killed, and he claims he has since developed extreme trauma. Brown is also suing Warner Bros., "claiming that The Dark Knight Rises was so violent that it delayed the reaction of many moviegoers who thought the shooting was a promotional stunt," says Neetzan Zimmerman at Gawker. Rounding out the suits, Brown is suing Holmes' doctors for failing to treat the suspected killer's "as-yet-unconfirmed medical condition." Brown's lawyer says someone has to be held responsible for the "rampant violence" that took place.
4. Facebook tributes to Holmes are proliferating
In the aftermath of the shootings, "there's been a disgusting rise in Facebook fan pages paying tribute" to Holmes, says Erin Sherbert at SF Weekly. One page shows a doctored image of Holmes as a decorated soldier receiving a medal from President Obama, while another is written from the alleged killer's perspective. While Facebookers are mostly ignoring these tribute pages, says Sherbert, at least one is "collecting a disgusting number of 'likes.'"
5. Theater stocks are dropping
"Movie-theater stocks have tumbled more than the broader markets" since the shootings, says Paul Bond at The Hollywood Reporter. Investors are not primarily concerned with repeat incidents, but rather with reports that theater owners are considering ramping up their security efforts, which could bump up ticket prices and hamper profits. The Dark Knight Rises, however, still managed to break the weekend box-office record for traditional 2-D movies.